The New York Yankees acquired third baseman Josh Donaldson, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for catcher Gary Sanchez and third baseman Gio Urshela on Sunday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted.
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Donaldson spent the past two seasons with the Minnesota Twins and had a bounce-back showing last year after playing just 28 games during an injury-plagued 2020 campaign. The 26-year-old third baseman hit 26 home runs with 72 RBI in 2021.
The three-time All-Star and 2015 American League MVP projects to hit near the middle of a strong New York lineup. Playing home games at Yankee Stadium should also prove to be a more favorable hitting environment than Target Field, so Donaldson’s a candidate to flirt with 30 home runs in 2022, and his home run prop total could present value when released as a result. DraftKings has Donaldson listed at +9000 to be the home run leader in 2022.
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Kiner-Falefa should start at shortstop, but his .699 OPS over the past two seasons leaves a lot to be desired offensively. It’s worth adding that the 26-year-old shortstop was dealt to Minnesota from the Texas Rangers on Saturday, March 10, so it’s been an eventful couple days for Hiawaiian.
Rortvedt only has 98 plate appearances in the majors, so he’s a bit of an unknown. However, the backstop was a second-round selection in the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft and should have an opportunity to see the bulk of starts behind the plate when the Yankees face a right-handed starting pitcher.
While there’s no denying the power potential catcher Gary Sanchez offers, he’s struggled to the tune of a .201 batting average, .299 on-base percentage and 28.1 strikeout percentage. The reported ban of defensive shifting could prove to be particularly beneficial for Sanchez, so his home run props could be also interesting to check on when it’s released.
Everything went wrong for Urshela in 2021, as he missed all kinds of time with various injuries, including going on the COVID-19 injured list twice. The 30-year-old will probably struggle to ever repeat his career-best showing in 2019 when he produced a .314/.355/.534 slash line.
The trade didn’t have a sizable impact on the World Series odds for either team. The Yankees were listed at +900 ahead of the deal at DraftKings Sportsbook, and their line didn’t move. Minnesota’s number did climb from +8000 to +9000 at DraftKings, though.
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